Opening Saturday Features Title Game Combatants Alabama and Notre Dame
They competed last year for a national championship, and those at BetAnySports analyzing the college football odds on that one saw a one-sided affair to say the least. For the Alabama Crimson Tide, it is a scenario where they are hopeful of nailing down their third consecutive national championship. For the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the problem to be solved is how to move ahead without the quarterback who got them to the title game.
When a program has won three titles in the last four seasons, you know that it is used to reloading rather than rebuilding. Okay, you’ve heard that one before. But it is true. The Tide will most likely roll this season, and that is reflected in its price in the college football odds at BetAnySports to win the national championship (+315). Quarterback A.J. McCarron, who had an insane 30-3 ratio of TD’s to interceptions last season and has been a standout in two straight BCS national title games, is back to engineer the offense, and he is now being billed as a Heisman candidate. Fair enough, but by the end of the season, the guy who could be getting most of that attention is sophomore running back T.J. Yelden, who ran for 1108 yards in a secondary role to Eddie Lacy last season. he has more talent than Lacy, and he gets an increased role in the offense. This defense gave up just 10.9 points a game and was ranked highly in just about every category, on the way to throttling Notre Dame in the BCS Championship game. There are seven starters coming back on that unit.
Virginia Tech (+280 to win the ACC Coastal title in college football odds at BetAnySports) has a defense that is going to be a force to be reckoned with, and Frank Beamer often has some surprises for the opposition when it comes to special teams play. Beamer has shaken up his coaching staff this season, most notably with new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler. And the Hokies have an impressive physical specimen in quarterback Logan Thomas, who is someone the NFL scouts have a very close eye on. The problem here is that Thomas’ supporting cast is a bit limited, and so what V-Tech may be able to do against the relentless Tide stop unit could be limited as well.
There was a big groan in South Bend when it was announced that due to “poor academic judgment” (use your imagination there), Everett Golson was going to miss the entire 2013 season, leaving the quarterbacking duties in the hands of Tommy Rees. There is no doubt that Rees has the ability to make a ton of plays, but he also has a tendency to make some timely mistakes as well. And he is not the ideal fit for Brian Kelly’s spread offense. Rees is not known as a mobile quarterback and is going to experience some susceptibility to pass rushes that Golson may have been able to escape from.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons why the Irish are 70-to-1 to win the BCS in BetAnySports’ college football odds. But it’s not as if Kelly hasn’t been in the position where he has had to adjust. He had to do it when his Cincinnati squad suffered through a rash of injuries and he had to adapt the offense to the style of his signal-caller. There is little doubt that Rees is a better pure passer than Golson, and he will have some balance in the attack to draw upon. George Atkinson III will see some more time at running back and he is a potentially explosive player. The Irish defense, which permitted just 12.8 points a game last season, may have lost Manti Te’o, but it returns a lot of other standouts, and while that unit got a real going-over in the BCS title game against Alabama, it is certainly good enough to handle this level of opponent. Temple was down near the bottom of all FBS (Division I) schools in passing last year, and there is much to prove for the Owls.
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